They say legends never die.
It was all the way back in 1993 when MMA legends Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought for the first time, at the very first edition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
That night in Denver, the martial arts world was changed forever as Gracie dominated not only Shamrock, but all of his tournament opponents — winning the day for his family’s jiu-jitsu style.
He would earn several more UFC tournament wins — and enjoy worldwide fame as a pioneer in what is now called mixed martial arts.
Shamrock, who cut his teeth in Pancrase, Japan’s pioneering fighting circuit, would go on to earn a draw against Gracie in their 1995 rematch. He would become an icon in his own right; winning the UFC’s “Superfight” title and enjoying success in Japan as well. Shamrock also found fame in pro wrestling.
Both legends will always have a place in fans’ hearts.
But do they belong in the cage, again?
With Shamrock recently making a comeback, some have called for Royce — who has served as Bellator MMA’s “Brand Ambassador” in the last year or so — to return to the cage for a final challenge.
Our own Jim Genia wrote here at Caged Insider:
It honestly should matter not one bit that Shamrock and Gracie could fight again. At the end of the day, they’d just be another marquee spectacle bout that brings in hundreds of thousands more viewers to see the real talent on the undercard – like Michael Chandler, Will Brooks, Patricio Pitbull, et al.
I say let them fight again.
It looks like Jim is getting his wish.
Gracie, now age 48, and Shamrock, age 51, will headline Bellator’s February 19 show in Houston, Texas. The event will be televised on Spike TV.
How will they look? If Shamrock’s last appearance is any indication — a bit awkward?
But, they’re legends — and worthy of all our respect. Whatever happens in February, that respect shouldn’t die.